Andri Berenger and Mohammed Naveed gave further proof of why they are rated so highly by Aaqib Javed, the coach, after setting up a victory for the UAE over Central Districts on Thursday.
The national team travelled to Napier, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, for some match practice ahead of their first World Cup appearance in 19 years.
They gained a morale-lifting success by beating Central Districts, New Zealand’s leading state side in 50-over cricket, after they chased 251 with six wickets and nearly 10 overs to spare.
Aaqib, the former Pakistan bowler who has overseen the UAE’s rise as coach over the past three years, thinks Berenger and Naveed are two players likely to cause an impression at the World Cup.
He terms Berenger a “very exciting” opening batsman. The Dubai-born player made 78 to set up the run chase against Central Districts in Napier, where the UAE will face Pakistan and West Indies during the World Cup.
Earlier, Naveed had taken three for 36 from his eight overs. Aaqib and Paul Franks, his assistant coach, are excited about the potential of the national team’s fastest bowler, on pitches which are likely to favour his style of bowling in Australia and New Zealand.
“The other day I had a discussion with Naveed,” Aaqib said. “He is handy with the bat also. I asked him what his plans were for the World Cup.
“He said, ‘I’m going to smash Mitchell Johnson and Dale Steyn.’ He has a lot of self-belief.”
The national team will fly to Australia on Friday for their official warm-up matches before the start of the World Cup.
They will play Australia, with Michael Clarke expected to make his return from injury, at the MCG on Wednesday.
They then face Afghanistan, who they beat 3-1 in a series in Dubai at the end of last year, on Friday, February 13, in St Kilda.
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